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Wisconsin Basketball Gets Disappointing Injury News



Wisconsin basketball; Badgers point guard Kamari McGee
Jan 19, 2024; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Kamari McGee (4) winces in pain after sliding into the Indiana Hoosiers bench during the second half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin basketball head coach Greg Gard addressed the media on Tuesday. As the Wisconsin Badgers enter February atop the Big Ten standings, there was plenty to talk about. In addition to discussing upcoming matchups with Nebraska and Purdue, the two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year provided an update on the injury status of one of his reserve guards.

Kamari McGee Out for “Two-Plus Weeks” for Wisconsin Basketball

Wisconsin basketball guards Max Klesmit and Kamari McGee attempt to recover a loose ball in a game against the Indiana Hoosiers

Jan 19, 2024; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Max Klesmit (11) picks up a loose ball against Indiana Hoosiers forward Malik Reneau (5) and teammate Wisconsin Badgers guard Kamari McGee (4) during the first half at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about the injury to reserve point guard Kamari McGee, Gard said McGee would not be returning to the lineup for “two-plus weeks.” McGee suffered a right leg injury in the waning minutes of a Badgers win over Indiana on January 19th. The Racine native has been out of UW’s lineup ever since.

McGee had been averaging just under seven minutes per game in 18 appearances this season. His few minutes provided a steady presence on offense – serving as a floor general akin to starting point guard Chucky Hepburn. McGee’s most valuable minutes, however, came at the defensive end of the floor. He is averaging 0.7 steals per game at an impressive 6.0% steal rate, according to KenPom. McGee does not play enough minutes to qualify for many national rankings. If he were to play the 40% of minutes needed to qualify, however, that steal rate would be the fourth-most efficient mark in the country.

How Does Wisconsin Basketball Overcome the Loss of Kamari McGee?

Wisconsin badgers guards Kamari McGee and Isaac Lindsey

Nov 27, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Kamari McGee (4) and Wisconsin Badgers guard Isaac Lindsey (10) celebrates a three-pointer scored by guard Chucky Hepburn, not shown, during the second half against the Western Illinois Leathernecks at the Kohl Center. Mandatory Credit: Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports

McGee’s misfortune presents an opportunity for junior guard Isaac Lindsey. The Mineral Point, Wisconsin native’s minutes have decreased this season compared to last. With the additions of sophomore transfer AJ Storr and Big Ten Freshman of the Year candidate John Blackwell, there simply have been fewer minutes at the end of the bench to go around. In recent days, however, Lindsey’s minutes have ticked back up.

Against Minnesota and Michigan State, Lindsey played four and three minutes, respectively. While a small number, it closely mirrors the playing time McGee received in the three games prior to his injury. In two of those games, Lindsey did not receive any playing time. His one appearance in those three games was a short stint – shorter than a full minute.

Lindsey’s minutes are not a direct substitute for McGee, however. Gard also said he expects primary backup point guard Max Klesmit and Blackwell to see extra minutes as the lead guard. Wisconsin basketball will have to patch those last few minutes together. At least until “two-plus weeks” passes.

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Kedrick Stumbris covers Wisconsin football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball. He received his B.A. with economics and political science majors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018 and has had his work published on Bleacher Report and Verbal Commits.